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Surprised By Love

The Counterintuitive Love of Jesus For Sinners

“But how could anybody love me? I’ve made such a mess of my life.”

Whether we feel like we have our lives together or not, each of us has participated in the shipwrecking reality of sin. Every single one of us has turned from God to our own ways (Isaiah 53:6).

That is, until Jesus steps into our life and radically alters it. By faith in Christ we are made new creations, given a new self that no longer sins with reckless abandon, but now longs to pursue what God says is right for us. The things of God become lovely to the one who loves Jesus.

Yet even as Christians, we can feel like we let Him down and make a mess of our lives as disciples.

“I’m supposed to be living a holy life, but it seems at every turn I keep messing things up.” Can you resonate with this statement? Every Christian can. For every one of us will sin at some point until our dying breath. Every one of us will keep messing up.

If someone were to hurt you over and over again, you would remove yourself from the relationship. This is intuitively built into us as a mechanism for our own protection.

But it would seem that in our messiness, in our continued sinning as Christians, that we do the same to Jesus. We may even humanly think that if I sin one more time Jesus is going to abandon me and remove Himself from our relationship.

The Counterintuitive Love of Jesus

But the love of Jesus is counterintuitive. It is not like our sinfully tainted love. The great theologian Jonathan Edwards puts it this way.

“They that find Christ though he be so glorious and excellent a person, yet they find him ready to receive such poor, worthless, hateful creatures as they are, which was unexpected to them. They are surprised with it…they heard he was a holy Savior and hated sin, and they did not imagine he would be so ready to receive such vile, wicked creatures as they…They unexpectedly find him with open arms to embrace them, ready to forget all their sins as though they had never been. They find that he as it were runs to meet them, and makes them most welcome, and admits them not only to be his servants but his friends. He lifts them out of the dust and sets them on his throne; he makes them children of God; he speaks peace to them; he cheers and refreshes their hearts; he admits them unto strict union with himself, and gives the most joyful entertainment, and binds himself to them to be their friend forever.”⁠1

Remarkable and surprising is it not?

We intuitively think that because we continue to sin that Jesus will eventually want nothing to do with us. But Edwards helps us to see the truth that there is an unexpectedness to Jesus’ love in that it is always open “to embrace [us].”

Jesus Loves You With A Surprising Love

Sinner, Jesus came for you. He came to surprise you with His love, a love that was once and for all given and cannot be taken back by the ongoing mess of your life.

Even though you sin, Jesus lifts you, today, out of the dust and sets you on His throne with Him.

Even though you sin, Jesus makes you a son and daughter of the Father.

Even though you sin, Jesus cheers and refreshes your heart, reminding you that you are loved.

Even though you sin, Jesus beckons you into union and relationship with Him.

Even though you sin, Jesus calls you friend.

It is unexpected that Jesus still loves us when we turn on Him by our daily sinning. But such is the love of Jesus, unexpected. He loves not like our corrupted human love that can wax and wane towards others based on how we are treated. He loves perfectly. And no amount of messiness in your life will make you unlovely to Him. Surprise. That’s the otherworldly love that we get to rest in day in and day out as those Jesus will never abandon. Rest here today.

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(1) Jonathan Edwards, “Seeking After Christ,” in The Works of Jonathan Edwards, vol. 22, Sermons and Discourses, 1739-1742, ed. Harry S. Stout and Nathan O. Hatch, with Kyle P. Farley (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2003), 290.

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